Interview Stakin – Your Trusted Crypto Rewards – Edouard Lavidalle
Kindly introduce yourself and describe your blockchain journey
- Caught the blockchain virus in 2017 and started building decentralized financial products and a platform to trade crypto indices. I co-founded Stakin a bit more than 2 years ago, as I wanted to support the growth of the Proof-of-Stake ecosystem, which was still nascent at that time. Stakin is a proof-of-stake infrastructure provider, where we operate secure and highly available nodes so that token holders can delegate to us, and earn interests on their Proof-of-Stake assets.
- I’m very excited to be part of this adventure with Tiago, my Co-Founder, CTO, and 10x engineer. Together, with Tiago and the team, we’ve been building Stakin relentlessly over the past years. Our contributions reach far beyond simple validation. We’ve got involved in many competitive testnets, helping Crypto Foundations test the next releases of their software, securing 18 Mainnet PoS networks as of April 2021, and also expanding into decentralized applications (Lossless staking lottery, Stakin Finance).
Describe your company and business case – what product/service are you offering to the blockchain ecosystem and your clients?
- Stakin is a non-custodial staking service providing secure validation for Proof-of-Stake blockchains and yield opportunities for token holders.
- The company is mostly focused on building and providing a secure and highly available node infrastructure. As of April 2021, Stakin is securing 18 Mainnet Proof-of-Stake blockchain networks, with around $250 million in total assets delegated, and 4,500+ delegators. Some of the networks we provide staking for include: Cosmos, Near, Icon, Solana, Polkadot, Kusama, Skale, Matic, Terra Money, Tezos, and more.
- In addition to secure validation, we offer our clients dedicated support and assistance with any of their staking or protocol-related questions. With 99.5%+ uptime, active governance, support and deep expertise built from intense testnet participation, we are able to serve a wide range of clients from individual token holders, as well as institutional clients such as network foundations, exchanges, hedge funds, and custodians.
- More recently, Stakin has started building decentralized financial products on top of the existing staking protocols (ICON staking no loss lottery https://lottery.stakin.com, and Stakin Finance https://finance.stakin.com)
What is your investment thesis – how do you select new blockchain protocols and how do you decide to support new protocols very early?
- We believe the whole blockchain ecosystem is heading towards Proof-of-Stake and interoperability. We’ve been supporting a lot of Proof-of-Stake networks helping achieve higher scalability for decentralized applications (e.g. Solana, Cosmos, Near, Skale, Matic), as well as application-specific blockchains (e.g. Sentinel, Akash, Regen) built on top of interoperability protocols (e.g. Polkadot, Cosmos, Icon).
- As more and more blockchains are getting connected with each other, and Layer 1 blockchains are actually reaching some serious scalability (whether horizontal or vertical scalability), we are starting to support more new application-specific protocols in the ecosystems that we already provide validation services for.
We believe the whole blockchain ecosystem is heading towards Proof-of-Stake and interoperability.
How do you support these new protocols?
- We typically provide a mix of technical and marketing services. Our blockchain engineers get involved very early with the protocols that we support, working on buggy and adversarial testnets alongside other community members and network participants. Using our presence in other ecosystems, we can help build bridges between blockchains and communities, if there is any fit. Finally, we’ve been publishing many guides and articles in the past on our blog, which have helped in gathering interest for the protocols and getting new users onboard.
Which regions (Europe, Asia, USA) are you most focused on?
- We’re a fully distributed organization. Our team spans most of the continents and we do not have any regional focus.
What does the investment process and investment cycle look like?
- Stakin is a staking service and that’s where most of our energy is invested. However, sometimes, we invest in very early seed / pre-sale rounds, after a few months of exciting testnet activities, which help us judge the overall commitment of the team, traction of the project, and personal interest in supporting the protocol over the next few years.
Personally, I am most excited about DeFi, which will soon be called Finance.
What are you most excited about (Web 3.0, DeFi, Interoperability, Liquidity, Farming, Layer 1/2/3, SSI, NFT, etc.)?
- Personally, I am most excited about DeFi, which will soon be called Finance. I believe interoperability is now a past challenge, and we will see the fruits of it very soon. Farming is just a funny word to describe mechanisms rewarding early users, and hopefully, this trend will continue, it’s actually fairer for all and does a great job in global wealth redistribution. NFTs are here to stay, although there’s been a big push on Art, I think the whole gaming applications of NFTs are still largely underexploited.
- On DeFi, what excites me the most is how we’re still at the very early beginning of it and the potential that it will have to make the whole investment space fairer and more open. It’s pretty exciting to be able to invest in tokenized stocks from any country, wherever you are from, and generate 10%+ yield on stablecoins.
- DeFi is enabling the creation of extremely efficient financial firms, where just a few developers can now handle billions of dollars in Assets under Management. And because smart contracts can be easily connected with each other, you get the whole Money Lego thing that every builder is excited about. It makes it utterly easy to build new innovative services on top of the existing stack, which in turn contribute to adding value to the whole ecosystem.
- What some think is a buzzword is actually going to disrupt the whole financial industry sooner than we all expect. I believe in a future where DeFi and blockchain will actually be fully abstracted for most of the mainstream final users. And these will benefit from super-low fees, better yields, an unlimited range of products, and a nice UI.
What are the major roadblocks for the adoption of Web 3.0 / blockchain-based finance (DeFi)?
- I have the feeling that we are almost at the stage of reaching full mainstream adoption. Many blockchains are now ready in terms of scalability and interoperability.
- I believe there are still major roadblocks to the adoption of blockchain-based finance at the local regulation level. Unfortunately, a lot of politicians and regulators do not have any understanding of DeFi or blockchain. Because of this, they treat blockchain entrepreneurs, and even sometimes users, like a bunch of criminals.
- This is terrible for the growth of the ecosystem and for the adoption of these products. I sincerely hope that more countries will be making positive moves for blockchain in general. These countries will end up attracting a large pool of talents and wealth, that’s for sure. Better, clearer, friendlier regulations, will also help new applications to thrive.
What protocols/networks do you support next – kindly share some insights?
- Right now we’re looking into quite a few application-specific blockchains. These have various applications ranging from gaming to social networking and of course DeFi. You can take a look at some of the testnets we’re supporting on Stakin – the list is updated frequently.
Next steps / roadmap 2021 / 2022
- We’re focused on building more tailored services for our institutional clients and supporting our current portfolio of mainnet and testnet networks. For updates on our products and services, you can jump in the community chats or contact us on Discord, Telegram or Twitter.
What are you looking for (funding, talent, network, sales etc.)
- We’re always looking for talents with a passion for blockchain. If you feel like you could contribute to Stakin, drop me a message.